Avoid busiest traffic days on French roads in 2023

Car grill and headlight
French classic car

WITH the summer 2023 holidays soon upon us the roads and autoroutes of France will see increased traffic from those looking to get away, but there are some websites you can use to try and get ahead of the jams.

Les grandes vacances, or summer holidays, will see many head to holiday spots across France, and so increased traffic on the roads especially at weekends and around particularly popular areas of the country.

Rent a car when driving in France

You will see many news reports on French television and the internet talking of bouchons, or traffic jams, in le sens départ, which covers travel away from Paris often towards the west of France or down towards the south east and the Mediterranean coast.

There is also much more traffic on the roads when schools break up for the holidays, or in the days before they go back, so it is worth checking the school holiday calendar for France.

The Bison Futé website

It is possible to get an idea of the travel problems and possible ways around les bouchons, by using the Bison Futé, or the smart bison, website.

This not only provides up to the minute information on traffic conditions on French roads, but it must have one of the best names for a government website.

The map shows you the whole of France and the major problems and issues on the main roads, such as repair work being undertaken, where the number of lanes have been reduced, sections of road that have traffic jams and even if animals have been seen on the roads.

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If you double-click on the area of France that concerns you most you can get more information on road conditions closer to home.

Lacanao Ocean in South West France
Popular ocean resorts on the Atlantic coast

French towns and cities

And if you want to see what the roads are like in some of the larger towns and cities of France then click on the Trafic des agglomérations tab above the map and this provides a list of locations and lets you zoom in on potential problems.

You can also get an idea of potential traffic problems in the days and weeks to come by clicking on the Prévisions tab, with the summer months of July and August being bad especially around the weekends.

With the period towards the end of July and early August 2023 often looking bad with red warnings of difficult traffic conditions and even possible black warnings on the Saturdays, this period often features the worst traffic conditions.

You can take the Bison Futé website with you as apps are available for both Android and iPhone mobiles.

Traffic on autoroutes

Another website you might want to take a look over is Autoroutes.fr, which is the site representing the companies that manage the autoroutes across France.

It provides information on the services available and toll road costs, but there is also a travel map that provides the latest information on ease of travel on the motorway system.

It is similar to the Bison Futé site in that you are provided with information on lane closures and sections of road that are experiencing traffic jams, it is also a little easier on the eye.

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But remember it is only providing information about the autoroutes, and try not to buy fuel when on them, so once you come off the autoroute you are going to have to rely upon the Bison Futé site again.

If you must travel during the summer months then a little advance planning might help smooth your journey, if you don’t have to I’d suggest travelling to France in September when the roads are back to normal and they are a joy to drive.

Rent a car when driving in France

Last Updated on 27 August, 2023.

Categorised as Travel

By Craig McGinty

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